Essential Pittsburgh
6:08 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Peduto Talks About Cleaning Up the City From Top to Bottom, Using Outside Ideas

A photo of the the Heliotrope in Freiburg, Germany taken by Mayor Bill Peduto during his recent trip. Built in 1994, it was the world's first "net plus" building, it produces 3-4 times the amount of energy it uses.
A photo of the the Heliotrope in Freiburg, Germany taken by Mayor Bill Peduto during his recent trip. Built in 1994, it was the world's first "net plus" building, it produces 3-4 times the amount of energy it uses.
Credit Bill Peduto / Twitter

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday that FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar will be Pittsburgh's new public safety director.

He said Bucar brings experience with emergency preparedness, counter terrorism, along with local police experience at the state and municipal levels. And while Bucar has personal ties to this region, he comes from outside Pittsburgh city government. 

“What Bucar gives us is an opportunity to start new,” Peduto said. “We have a lot of work to do to clean up city government, and it starts at the top."

Bringing an Outside Approach to City Government and City Development

From Chicago, to Washington D.C., to Ludwigsburg Germany, since Bill Peduto was sworn in as mayor he’s done some pretty extensive traveling in order to gather and share ideas for a new Pittsburgh vision.

"I'm going to take every advantage that I can when there's an opportunity not only to be the ambassador/salesman (that's what I call myself) but the person who's going to learn and to bring back the opportunity to Pittsburgh," he said.

With his most recent trip to Germany, paid for by his counterpart, the Lord Mayor of Ludwigsburg and Carnegie Mellon University, Peduto said he hopes to model their sustainable improvements to government services and development.

"Germany has been transforming itself for decades around sustainability. So when we went we looked at co-generation plants that were doing small scale development to an entire community of over 600 houses, all being generated. So the heat and electricity for this entire neighborhood isn't connected to a big power grid system and a big power plant. It's being done with wood chips, the entire community with wood chips, and not even wood that is being harvested but with wood that is laying on the ground."

He also described some of the sustainable methods that could make Pittsburgh housing more affordable.

"We met with companies that create windows that if it's negative 10 degrees outside and you touch the window from the inside it's warm. Three panes of glass with argon in between that now because of technology the cost of producing is about 10% higher than a standard window," Peduto explained.

"We met with companies and groups that have created buildings and entire neighborhoods that produce more energy than they use. And when I meet with these people, when I see that it exists, and that it has existed since 1994, I then think about 'why are we developing the Hill without those same types of things?'"